III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.
The following series of questions allows the particular Churches to participate actively in the preparation of the Extraordinary Synod, whose purpose is to proclaim the Gospel in the context of the pastoral challenges facing the family today. Please use this form if you wish to make a response or use the online response form at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/familySynod2014
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Synod14 - Message of the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops , 18.10.2014
III EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY
OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS
We, Synod Fathers, gathered in Rome together with Pope Francis in the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, greet all families of the different continents and in particular all who follow Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We admire and are grateful for the daily witness which you offer us and the world with your fidelity, faith, hope, and love.
Each of us, pastors of the Church, grew up in a family, and we come from a great variety of backgrounds and experiences. As priests and bishops we have lived alongside families who have spoken to us and shown us the saga of their joys and their difficulties.
The preparation for this synod assembly, beginning with the questionnaire sent to the Churches around the world, has given us the opportunity to listen to the experience of many families. Our dialogue during the Synod has been mutually enriching, helping us to look at the complex situations which face families today.
We offer you the words of Christ: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:20). On his journeys along the roads of the Holy Land, Jesus would enter village houses. He continues to pass even today along the streets of our cities. In your homes there are light and shadow. Challenges often present themselves and at times even great trials. The darkness can grow deep to the point of becoming a dense shadow when evil and sin work into the heart of the family.
We recognize the great challenge to remain faithful in conjugal love. Enfeebled faith and indifference to true values, individualism, impoverishment of relationships, and stress that excludes reflection leave their mark on family life. There are often crises in marriage, often confronted in haste and without the courage to have patience and reflect, to make sacrifices and to forgive one another. Failures give rise to new relationships, new couples, new civil unions, and new marriages, creating family situations which are complex and problematic, where the Christian choice is not obvious.
We think also of the burden imposed by life in the suffering that can arise with a child with special needs, with grave illness, in deterioration of old age, or in the death of a loved one. We admire the fidelity of so many families who endure these trials with courage, faith, and love. They see them not as a burden inflicted on them, but as something in which they themselves give, seeing the suffering Christ in the weakness of the flesh.
We recall the difficulties caused by economic systems, by the “the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose” (Evangelii gaudium 55) which weakens the dignity of people. We remember unemployed parents who are powerless to provide basic needs for their families, and youth who see before them days of empty expectation, who are prey to drugs and crime.
We think of so many poor families, of those who cling to boats in order to reach a shore of survival, of refugees wandering without hope in the desert, of those persecuted because of their faith and the human and spiritual values which they hold. These are stricken by the brutality of war and oppression. We remember the women who suffer violence and exploitation, victims of human trafficking, children abused by those who ought to have protected them and fostered their development, and the members of so many families who have been degraded and burdened with difficulties. “The culture of prosperity deadens us…. all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us” (Evangelii gaudium 54). We call on governments and international organizations to promote the rights of the family for the common good.
Christ wanted his Church to be a house with doors always open to welcome everyone. We warmly thank our pastors, lay faithful, and communities who accompany couples and families and care for their wounds.
There is also the evening light behind the windowpanes in the houses of the cities, in modest residences of suburbs and villages, and even in mere shacks, which shines out brightly, warming bodies and souls. This light—the light of a wedding story—shines from the encounter between spouses: it is a gift, a grace expressed, as the Book of Genesis says (2:18), when the two are “face to face” as equal and mutual helpers. The love of man and woman teaches us that each needs the other in order to be truly self. Each remains different from the other that opens self and is revealed in the reciprocal gift. It is this that the bride of the Song of Songs sings in her canticle: “My beloved is mine and I am his… I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (Song of Songs 2:16; 6:3).
This authentic encounter begins with courtship, a time of waiting and preparation. It is realized in the sacrament where God sets his seal, his presence, and grace. This path also includes sexual relationship, tenderness, intimacy, and beauty capable of lasting longer than the vigor and freshness of youth. Such love, of its nature, strives to be forever to the point of laying down one’s life for the beloved (cf Jn 15:13). In this light conjugal love, which is unique and indissoluble, endures despite many difficulties. It is one of the most beautiful of all miracles and the most common.
This love spreads through fertility and generativity, which involves not only the procreation of children but also the gift of divine life in baptism, their catechesis, and their education. It includes the capacity to offer life, affection, and values—an experience possible even for those who have not been able to bear children. Families who live this light-filled adventure become a sign for all, especially for young people.
This journey is sometimes a mountainous trek with hardships and falls. God is always there to accompany us. The family experiences his presence in affection and dialogue between husband and wife, parents and children, sisters and brothers. They embrace him in family prayer and listening to the Word of God—a small, daily oasis of the spirit. They discover him every day as they educate their children in the faith and in the beauty of a life lived according to the Gospel, a life of holiness. Grandparents also share in this task with great affection and dedication. The family is thus an authentic domestic Church that expands to become the family of families which is the ecclesial community. Christian spouses are called to become teachers of faith and of love for young couples as well.
Another expression of fraternal communion is charity, giving, nearness to those who are last, marginalized, poor, lonely, sick, strangers, and families in crisis, aware of the Lord’s word, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). It is a gift of goods, of fellowship, of love and mercy, and also a witness to the truth, to light, and to the meaning of life.
The high point which sums up all the threads of communion with God and neighbor is the Sunday Eucharist when the family and the whole Church sits at table with the Lord. He gives himself to all of us, pilgrims through history towards the goal of the final encounter when “Christ is all and in all” (Col 3:11). In the first stage of our Synod itinerary, therefore, we have reflected on how to accompany those who have been divorced and remarried and on their participation in the sacraments.
We Synod Fathers ask you walk with us towards the next Synod. The presence of the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in their modest home hovers over you. United to the Family of Nazareth, we raise to the Father of all our petition for the families of the world:
Father, grant to all families the presence of strong and wise spouses who may be the source of a free and united family.
Father, grant that parents may have a home in which to live in peace with their families.
Father, grant that children may be a sign of trust and hope and that young people may have the courage to forge life-long, faithful commitments.
Father, grant to all that they may be able to earn bread with their hands, that they may enjoy serenity of spirit and that they may keep aflame the torch of faith even in periods of darkness.
Father, grant that we may all see flourish a Church that is ever more faithful and credible, a just and humane city, a world that loves truth, justice and mercy.
[03043-02.01] [Original text: Italian]
Synod Closes With Clearer Vision Than When It OpenedSome divisions persist over the synodal process and some of the final report’s content, but the second week of discussion at the Vatica...NCREGISTER.COM
1 hr · I am grateful to my good friend, Dr. Margaret Harper McCarthy (Professor of Theological Anthropology, John Paul II Institute at Catholic University of America), for taking the initiative in sending an "Open Letter to the Synod Fathers" that was signed by over a hundred converts (including Kimberly and me) "who were, and continue to be, attracted to the Church in large part because of what she proposes about the human being in her teaching about sexual difference, sexuality, marriage and the family."
As you can see from the list below, signatories include professors from Oxford, Princeton, Yale, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Catholic University of America, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Baylor University, University of Texas at Austin, Mount St. Mary’s University, De Sales University, Boston College, and the University of Toronto. Many are former pastors, missionaries, ministers, professors, rectors, priests, and bishops. The list also includes doctors, judges, theologians, philosophers, lawyers, business leaders, psychologists, publishers, and senior members of charitable organizations.
Speaking personally, I thank God for the faithful and courageous witness of the Catholic Church to the profound truth and beauty of marriage, which Jesus Christ elevated to a Sacrament, in order to enable a baptized man and woman to share the divine grace necessary to fulfill their marital covenant with life-giving love and fidelity. AMDG
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE SYNOD FROM OVER 100 CONVERTS
Your Holiness; Dear Fathers in Christ,
We are all converts to the Catholic faith. Some of us were raised in other Christian communities; some of us came, unbaptized, from other faiths; some of us had once been thoroughly secular and thought of ourselves as agnostics or atheists. Despite the diversity of our backgrounds we all have this in common: we entered the Church as adults. As you prepare for the Synod on the Family we hope that you will be encouraged by the multitude of lay faithful who were, and continue to be, attracted to the Church in large part because of what she proposes about the human being in her teaching about sexual difference, sexuality, marriage and the family.
Early on, most of us would have objected to at least some elements of the Church’s teaching about such matters. Yet, as we began to notice how harmful were the effects of popular conceptions of human sexuality, and as some of our own congregations began to give way to the dominant culture − its ideas about freedom, equality, progress, and its growing gnostic tendencies − each of us started to suspect that there was something right about the Church’s understanding of things. Unpopular though they often were, the Church’s teachings about the facts of life became strangely attractive to us. And in time, we became convinced that they expressed the deepest truth of ourselves, a truth that is both good and beautiful, howsoever demanding. What is more, the certainty the Church had in her teachings and her confidence in pronouncing them even in the face of hostile opposition was for us evidence that we could encounter in her the life of Jesus Christ as He truly is. As human beings we understand the dramatic nature of desire and the self-justifying “dictatorship” that often accompanies it. But as converts we also know the tendency, wherever ecclesial bodies lack a visible, historical, and authoritative bond with Christ through His vicar, to adapt Christianity to the dominant mentality. In short, the fact that the Catholic Church held fast to the deepest truth about our embodied human existence was for us a point of attraction, and a sign that the Church was the surest link to Jesus Christ Incarnate.
With respect to the bewildering diversity of contemporary opinions about the human good, especially where questions about the human body are concerned, we understood that the radical nature of the Christian claim − that God, the Son, had taken up all flesh into Himself − was at stake. Christ “revealed man to himself” (Gaudium et Spes 22). He thereby “made clear” the meaning of our humanity – and with it the meaning of the body, of sexual difference, of sexuality, marriage and the family. He did this, for example, when the Pharisees asked him about divorce, and he turned them (and his own disciples) back to “the beginning,” to human nature as it was created. What is more, he brought something new to that same humanity, bestowing on it, mercifully, a share in His own fidelity to the Church. It was not by accident, then, that early Christians were drawn to the Church through the radiant humanity of His followers, manifest, for example, in their unique attitudes toward women, children, human sexuality, and marriage. And it was not by accident that, for the same reasons, we too were drawn to the Church many centuries later.
We are keenly aware of the difficult pastoral situations that you will be confronting at the Synod, especially those concerning divorced Catholics. We also share something of the burden you carry in confronting them. Some of us have experienced the pain of divorce in our own lives; and virtually all of us have friends or close relatives who have been so afflicted. We are therefore grateful that attention is being paid to a problem that causes such grievous harm to husbands and wives, their children, and indeed the culture at large.
We are writing you, however, because of our concerns about certain proposals to change the church’s discipline regarding communion for Catholics who are divorced and civilly re- married. We are frankly surprised by the opinion of some who are proposing a “way of penance” that would tolerate what the Church has never allowed. In our judgment such proposals fail to do justice to the irrevocability of the marriage bond, either by writing off the “first” marriage as if it were somehow “dead,” or, worse, by recognizing its continued existence but then doing violence to it. We do not see how these proposals can do anything other than contradict the Christian doctrine of marriage itself. But we also fail to see how such innovations can be, as they claim, either pastoral or merciful. However well meaning, pastoral responses that do not respect the truth of things can only aggravate the very suffering that they seek to alleviate. We cannot help but think of the abandoned spouses and their children. Thinking of the next generation, how can such changes possibly foster in young people an appreciation of the beauty of the indissolubility of marriage?
Above all, we think that the proposals in question fail to take to heart the real crisis of the family underlying the problem of divorce, contraception, cohabitation and same-sex attraction. That crisis, as Benedict XVI observed, is “a false understanding of the nature of human freedom.” Still worse, as he continued, we now have to confront an outlook that “calls into question the very notion of being − of what being human really means” (“Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI on the Occasion of Christmas Greetings to the Roman Curia,” 2012). Not only are the changes in the Church’s discipline called for by some far from adequate to the challenge before us, they seem to us to capitulate to the problem they purport to address.
As has everyone else, we have witnessed the human wreckage brought about by the culture of divorce. But as converts we have also witnessed Christian complicity in that culture. We have watched our own communities abandon the original radical Christian witness to the truth about man and woman, together with the pastoral accompaniment that might have helped them live it.
And so we turn to you. We look to you to uphold Christ’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage with the same fidelity, the same joyful and courageous witness the Catholic Church has displayed throughout her entire history. Against the worldly-wise who counsel resignation and concede defeat, let the Church once again remind the world of the beauty of spousal fidelity, when lived in unity with Christ. Who is left who can offer the world something other than an echo of its own cynicism? Who is left who can lead it toward a real experience of love? Now more than ever the world needs the Church’s prophetic witness! As Pope Francis said to the thousands of young people at World Youth Day in Brazil:
"Today, there are those who say that marriage is out of fashion....They say that it is not worth making a life-long commitment, making a definitive decision, ‘forever,’ because we do not know what tomorrow will bring. I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries, I ask you to swim against the time; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes you are incapable of responsibility, that believes you are incapable of true love."
As you gather in Rome for the Synod on the Family, we want to offer you the witness of our conversion, which testifies to the attractiveness of the truth about man and woman as it has been “made clear” by Christ through His Church. It is our hope that our witness will strengthen yours so that the Church may continue to be the answer to what the human heart most deeply desires.
Sincerely in Christ,
Mark Alder – Director, Christendom Awake
James D. Anderson − Senior Advisor, History & Theology, The Coming Home Network International; former Lutheran seminarian
Bryan Atkinson – Hospice Medical Director
Joseph Atkinson – Associate Professor of Sacred Scripture, The John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and the Family at The Catholic University of America (Washington DC); Director, Theology of the Family Project; former Anglican priest
Francis J. Beckwith − Professor of Philosophy and Church-State Studies, Baylor University; former President of the Evangelical Theological Society; former minister in the United Evangelical Churches
Philip Bess − Professor of Architecture, The University of Notre Dame
Rachelle Belokur – Nurse, Heritage Christian Services (New York)
Timothy T. Bergsma - Pharmacometrician, Certara
Laura Bramon − International child protection and anti-human trafficking specialist
Clinton A. Brand − Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of English, University of St.Thomas (Houston, TX)
Christine-Thérèse Broesamle − Missionary in Africa and Europe; international negotiator; author; former Evangelical missionary
J. Budziszewski − Professor of Government and Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin
Joshua Belokur – Nurse, Highland Hospital (New York) NY); former pastor in The Church of the Nazarene
Gail Buckley − President and Founder, Catholic Scripture Study International; President, The Catholic Leadership Conference
Rev. Mark Cannaday − Administrator of St. Gilbert of Sempringham Catholic Church, Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (Retired) (Boerne, Texas); former Episcopal canon and rector
Steven L. Carlson − Catechist, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church (Plum City, WI); former minister in the ELCA Lutheran Church
Paul Cates – President, Faith Christian Ministries; former Lutheran pastor
Jeff Cavins − Founder and President, The Great Adventure Bible Study System
Charles M. Clowe − President, Clowe Oil Co. (Ardmore, Oklahoma)
Paisley H. Clowe – Teacher, music minister
Adam G. Cooper − Permanent Fellow and Associate Dean of Research, The John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family (Melbourne); former pastor in the Lutheran Church of Australia
Rob Corzine − Vice President of Programs, St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology?
David Crawford – Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, The John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and the Family at The Catholic University of America (Washington DC)
David B Currie − Fellow, St Paul Center for Biblical Theology; author; speaker; former fundamentalist missionary
Rev. Peter H. Davids − Director, House of Studies of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter; Priest-in-Residence, Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church (Houston, TX); Visiting Professor of Bible and Applied Theology, Houston Graduate School of Theology; former Episcopal priest
Alan J. Doksansky − Former Baptist pastor
Most Rev. Peter J Elliott − Auxiliary Bishop, Melbourne; Director, The John Paul II Institute (Melbourne)
Peter G. Epps − Visiting Assistant Professor of English, Oklahoma State University;
RCIA Coordinator, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church (Oklahoma City, OK); former professor at College of Biblical Studies, Houston, TX
Thomas F. Farr − Director, Religious Freedom Project, The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, Georgetown University
John Finnis − Professor Emeritus of Law and Legal Philosophy, University of Oxford
John Fraysier − Owner, CastleGuard Pest Management, Inc. (New York); former Area Director, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
Clinton Froscher – Member, editorial board of Communio International Catholic Review; bookseller
Jennifer Fulwiler – Author; radio host
Laura L. Garcia − Scholar in Residence in Philosophy, Boston College
Sherif Girgis − Research Scholar, Witherspoon Institute; JD candidate, Yale Law School; PhD candidate, Princeton University; author
Dawn Eden Goldstein – Author; S.T.D candidate, The University of St. Mary of the Lake
Gregory Graham, Director of Technology, Cistercian Preparatory School (Irving, TX)
George Griffin – Former Methodist pastor
Marcus C. Grodi – Founder and President, The Coming Home Network International; host, The Journey Home (EWTN); former Presbyterian minister
Jean De Groot − Professor of Philosophy, The Catholic University of America
Rev. Lee W. Gross − Dean of Students, Mount St. Mary’s Seminary (Emmitsburg, MD); former Lutheran and Episcopal minister
Scott Hahn – Professor of Theology, Franciscan University of Steubenville; author; former Protestant pastor
Kimberly Kirk Hahn – Author; speaker
Jacqueline Halbig von Schleppenbach – Consultant and Lay Leader
Michael Hanby – Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy of Science, The John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and the Family at The Catholic University of America (Washington DC)
Greta Harper – Founder, Voices in the Square
Rev. Brian W. Harrison − Scholar-in-Residence, Oblates of Wisdom Study Center (St. Louis, Missouri); Associate Professor Emeritus of Theology, Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico (Ponce, PR); Chaplain, St. Mary of Victories Chapel (St. Louis, Missouri)
Father Doug Hayman − Priest Administrator, Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Ottawa, Canada), a Quasi-Parish of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter; Chaplain and Faculty member, Augustine College (Ottawa); former priest of both the Anglican Church of Canada and the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada
Joy Elizabeth Heebink − Associate Professor of Religion, Waldorf College; former Lutheran (ELCA) pastor
Todd Hartch − Professor of History, Eastern Kentucky University; former campus minister, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
Richard George Herbel − Monk at St. Augustine's House (Oxford, Michigan); former Lutheran pastor
Frank W. Hermann − Associate Professor of English, Franciscan University of Steubenville
Kent R. Hill − International development executive; religious freedom activist; former Nazarene College president
Fr. John L. Holleman – Pastor, Holy Name of Jesus Church (Semmes, AL); former Episcopal priest Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Grouard-McLennan (Retired)
Rodney Howsare − Professor of Theology, DeSales University; former pastor in the Assembly of God Church
Jane Hartman Irwin − Professor of Music, Lincoln Land Community College; pianist; recording artist
Mike L. Isbell – Member, Board of Education (Beaufort County, North Carolina); former Disciples of Christ pastor
Rev. Joseph Jacobson – Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Grouard-McLennan (Retired) (Alberta, Canada); Parochial Vicar, Cathedral Parish of St. John the Baptist (Retired) (Alberta, Canada); former Lutheran pastor and bishop (Alberta Synod, ELCIC)
Susan Jenkins − Pastoral Activities Minister, Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics (Ohio)
Frank Johnson − Master Catechist; former United Methodist pastor?
Jennifer Johnson − Associate Director, The Ruth Institute
Katherine M. Johnson – Author; adult ministry leader; former missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators
Rev. Phillip M. Johnson − Pastor, Parish of St. Thomas More (Cherry Hill, New Jersey); former Lutheran pastor
Richard Johnson – Adult and Family Ministry Director Holy Spirit Catholic Church (Duncanville, Texas); former Director of Personnel, Wycliffe Bible Translators
Rev. Carleton P. Jones − Prior, St. Dominic Priory (Washington, DC); former Anglican clergyman
Elizabeth Kantor – Author; Editor, Regnery Publishing
Rev. Leonard R. Klein – Administrator, Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Mary's/St. Patrick's Parish (Wilmington, DE); former Lutheran pastor
Rev. W.E. Knickerbocker, Jr.− Sacramental Minister; St. Theresa Catholic Church (Junction, TX); Professor Emeritus, Memphis Theological Seminary; former Episcopal priest
Robert C. Koons − Professor of Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin
Christopher Marc LaRose − Assistant Director The Coming Home Network International (Retired); former United Methodist pastor
Jody Vaccaro Lewis − Assistant Professor of Sacred Scripture, Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies
V. Bradley Lewis − Associate Professor of Philosophy, The Catholic University of America
Jurgen Liias – Pastor, St. Gregory the Great Ordinariate Catholic Church (Boston, MA) former Episcopal priest
Katherine E. Lundstrom − President/CEO, Firm Foundations, Inc.
Margaret Harper McCarthy – Assistant Professor of Theological Anthropology, The John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and the Family at The Catholic University of America; Editor, Humanum
Sr. Laura Marie Menge – Novice of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing; former Lutheran pastor
Serena Harper Miggins – Business Operations Manager, Aquinas Companies (Houston, TX)
David Mills – Editorial Director, Ethika Politika; Senior Editor, The Stream; former Executive Editor, First Things.
Anca Nemoianu − Director, Intensive English Program, The Catholic University of America
Alana Newman − Founder and Director, The Anonymous Us Project and The Coalition Against Reproductive Trafficking
Rev. Jay Scott Newman – Pastor, St. Mary’s Catholic Church (Greenville, S C)
Rev. David Ousley – Pastor, Church of St Michael the Archangel and Blessed John Henry Newman Catholic Community in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter (Philadelphia); former Episcopal rector
Rev. Dn. Joseph A. Pasquella – Deacon of St. Patrick's (Bellfast, NY), St. Patrick's (Fillmore, NY) and Our Lady of the Angels (Cuba, NY); former Pentecostal minister
Colin Patterson − Permanent Fellow, The John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family (Melbourne); former minister in the Uniting Church in Australia
Chad Pirotte − Instructor, School of Faith (Kansas City); former Presbyterian pastor
Dale Pollard − Professor of Sociology and Leadership, Trinity Western University; Director, 8th Day Community non-profit; former pastor in the Assemblies of God
Steve Ray – Author; speaker; producer; pilgrimage guide
Mark Regnerus − Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Texas at Austin; Senior Fellow, Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Cultur
Jay Richards − Assistant Research Professor, School of Business and Economics, The Catholic University of America; Executive Editor, The Stream
Keith A. Rickert Sr.− former priest in the International Communion of The Charismatic Episcopal Church
Anna Rist – Author?
John Rist − Emeritus Professor of Classics and Philosophy, University of Toronto
Christopher C. Roberts – Author; candidate for the diaconate, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary
Rev. Patrick Rohen − Chaplain (Captain), United States Army (Retired); former Evangelical minister
Devin Rose – Catholic apologist; author
Austin Ruse – President, Center for Family & Human Rights (C-Fam)
Cathy Ruse − Senior Legal Fellow, Family Research Council
Karen Sadock – Catechist; former candidate for priesthood in the Episcopal Church
Rev. John Saward − Priest-in-charge, SS. Gregory and Augustine, Oxford; Fellow, Blackfriars Hall, Oxford University; former Anglican clergyman
Marianne Scarborough − Former Lecturer in Ancient History, Salisbury University (MD); nformer Anglican missionary
Joshua W. Schulz – Associate Professor of Philosophy, DeSales University; Editor, Maritain Notebook
Rebecca Samuel Shah – Research Associate, The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Georgetown University
Timothy Shah – Associate Director of The Religious Freedom Project, The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Georgetown University
Mark Shiffman − Associate Professor, Department of Humanities, Villanova University
Richard Upsher Smith, Jr. − Professor of Classics, Franciscan University of Steubenville; former priest of the Anglican Church of Canada and of ECUSA
R. J. Snell − Professor of Philosophy, Eastern University; Executive Director, The Agora Institute for Civic Virtue and the Common Good
Tim Staples − Director of Apologetics and Evangelization, Catholic Answers
Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson – Ordinary, Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter; former Bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande in the Episcopal Church USA
Rev. D. Paul Sullins − Research Professor of Sociology, The Catholic University of America; Senior Fellow, Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI); former Anglican clergyman
Bruce Sullivan − Parish catechist; advisor, Coming Home Network International; former minister in the Church of Christ
Karen Taliaferro − Thomas W. Smith Postdoctoral Research Associate, James Madison Program in American Ideals & Institutions, Princeton University
Charles G. Tate - Special District Judge (Retired), State of Oklahoma; former Protestant pastor
Rebecca Ryskind Teti − Director of women’s Programs, Our Lady of Bethesda Retreat Center
Paul Thigpen – Author; Professor of Theology (Retired), Southern Catholic College; former member of the National Advisory Council of the U.S.C.C.B.; former Protestant pastor and missionary
Hilary Towers − Developmental Psychologist; author
Rev. Vaughn A. Treco – Chaplain, The Society of Saint Bede the Venerable Chaplain & Teacher, Providence Academy; former Anglican clergyman
Wesley Vincent − Clinical Psychologist
Msgr. Peter Wilkinson − Prelate of Honour; former Archbishop of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada Affairs, Georgetown University Research Associate, The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Associate Director of The Religious Freedom Project, The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, Georgetown University
Joseph R. Wood − Professor, Institute of World Politics
Stephen Wood − President, Family Life Center International; former minister in the Presbyterian Church in America
Here's the cover letter Dr. McCarthy sent to each Synod Father:
I am writing to deliver you a copy of an “Open Letter to the Synod from over 100 Converts.” The letter witnesses to the fact that for all of us, the Church’s steadfastness on questions concerning the human body was for us a point of attraction, and a sign that the Church was the surest link to Jesus Christ Incarnate.
What occasions the letter are concerns about certain proposals made by some, regarding the best way to deal with the crisis of the family in the current cultural context. We refer above all, to the proposals to change the Church’s discipline regarding reception of the Eucharist for the divorced and civilly remarried, but also to other openings to co-habitation, contraception, and homosexuality. We think that the aforementioned proposals (and openings), not only contradict the Catholic teaching about the human body, sexual difference, sexuality, marriage and the family, but that they risk aggravating the very suffering they seek to alleviate. Above all, we think that the proposals in question fail to take to heart the real crisis of the family underlying the problem of divorce, contraception, cohabitation and same-sex attraction which as Benedict XVI once observed, is “a false understanding of the nature of human freedom,” and even more deeply, “the very notion of being − of what being human really means.”
All of the over 100 signatories converted to the Catholic Church as adults. They include: senior members of one of the world’s largest charitable organization, founders of businesses and non-profits, authors, well-known speakers, lay leaders, members of the judiciary, lawyers, doctors, psychologists, publishers, and professors in many fields from The Catholic University of America, Notre Dame, The University of Texas at Austin, Mount St. Mary’s, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Baylor University, Georgetown University, Oxford University, De Sales University, Institute of World Politics, Princeton, Yale, Boston College, and the University of Toronto. Many were former missionaries, ministers, pastors, rectors, priests, and bishops.
As you gather with the Holy Father in Rome for the Synod on the family, we want to offer you the witness of our conversion, which testifies to the attractiveness of the truth about man and women as it has been “made clear” by Christ through His Church. We will be praying for you during the Synod.
Yours in Christ,
Margaret Harper McCarthy
Assistant Professor of Theological Anthropology,
The John Paul II Institute at The Catholic University of America
An Open Letter to the Synod from over 100 Catholic Converts - Dads.org